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more accurate guide than a resemblance of name only, unsupported by other points of coincidence.
It is true, that in the description given by Aristagoras of the royal road from Sardis to Susa, as preserved to us by Herodotus, after enumerating the Tigris and the Greater and Lesser Zab as three of the rivers to be passed in the way, the fourth is called by him the Gyndes. This is the celebrated stream which was divided by Cyrus into three hundred and sixty channels, to revenge himself on it, as it was said, for the death of one of the sacred horses, which was carried away by its waters. But the able Illustrator of the Geography of Herodotus has proved that either Aristagoras himself, or the historian who preserves his details of the road, have confounded this stream with the Mendeli, farther to the eastward, and in the province of Susiana, the fact of Cyrus's division of which was popularly known and accredited.*
The city of Opis is generally admitted to have been near the confluence of the Physcus with the Tigris. It is so placed by both Xenophon and Pliny, and by the latter of these it is also spoken of under the name of Antiochia, which, as we have seen, was given to numerous cities of the East. Herodotus, however, places it below the confluence of the Gyndes with the Tigris, which is the same thing; considering this to have been the name given to the third river after passing the Tigris, by Aristagoras, whose description of that part of the country he had before been quoting.
After all, it may be said, that though this, the third river from the crossing of the Tigris, would answer to the Physcus of Xenophon, the Gyndes of Aristagoras, and the Tornadotum of Pliny, or the Torneh passed by Heraclius in his approach to the Persian palace, if the route of march lay close along the eastern banks of the Tigris; yet, that it might not have been crossed at all, either on Aristagoras's road to Susa, or that of Heraclius to Dastagherd, sup
* See Rennell's Illustrations of the Geography of Herodotus, 4to.
posing the line of march to have led further east, and the source of this stream to have been left a little on the right. The Diala would then have been the stream meant, as both D'Anville and Rennell agree, though their opinions were evidently formed without any knowledge of the existence of this stream at Delhi Abāss.
The country all around us appeared to be one wide desert of sandy and barren soil, thinly scattered over with brushwood and tufts of reedy grass.
The bare and stony ridge of hills, through the pass of which we had come on the preceding night, intercepted the horizon in the north-east, and a lofty range of very distant mountains bounded the view in the south-east; but in every other quarter of the compass, the prospect was like that of a level and unbroken sea.
We had seen no settlement of pure Arabs throughout our way, since leaving Mousul, until now; the tribe of Arab horsemen, whom we met at Altoun Kupree, being on an expedition, and the people resident in the towns being mostly Turks, or Koords. Here, however, at this small village of Delhi Abass, the features, the complexion, the language, and the habits and manners of the people, were all purely Arabian, and that too of the Bedouin, or Desert, rather than the Fellah, or cultivating class. By some of these, who were now encamped in brown hair tents, and fed their flocks on the thorny shrubs near the stream, I was assured that the nearest part of the Tigris was three days' journey, for a man on foot, from Kara Tuppé, and two days' journey from this place. By this estimate it could not be less than forty miles from hence, though this is a much greater space than is marked in the map; and the circuit made by the couriers to the eastward, instead of coming in a straight line from Mousul to Bagdad, is no doubt for the sake of passing through the towns in the way, and halting at the stations, fixed at convenient distances, and furnished with water and provisions.
The whole number of families permanently resident at this small station of Delhi Abass, does not usually exceed twenty; so
that our supplies, except of milk from the goats of the Bedouins near, were very scanty, and no horses could, of course, be procured. We were, therefore, obliged to proceed on the same laden animals which had borne us thus far; and each of us who were in disfavour, namely, Suliman, Ali, and myself, were obliged to load our own beasts before we mounted them. The very hottest part of the day was now chosen for setting out, just after the prayers of El Assr, or between three and four o'clock; and the scorching power of the sun was even a smaller evil than the parching and suffocating heat of a Simoom wind, which came in furnace-like blasts from the western Desert. Even when reposing in the shade, without garments, catching every breath of air by sitting in its current, and furnished with a fan in one hand and a jug of water in the other, it was still insupportably hot, and every part of the body, even in this state of rest, streamed with the effects of the heat. But to load a refractory animal with a very heavy burden, and without the assistance of any one even to hold his head by a halter, was, as may be imagined, not a very cool or agreeable occupation. I exerted myself, however, with a strength increased by vexation at the indignity thus put upon us all; and, fortunately, a proud determination not to sink under it, bore me through all my labour. I was, however, in such a burning state of fever, and so completely exhausted by the time I had buckled the last girth of my mule, that I was much more ready to stretch myself along upon the earth, than either to mount and ride, or continue the journey on foot beside the beast I had laden. The faithful Suliman, who continued to adhere to me to the last, cheered me, as he passed on a higher and better animal, with the prospect that Bagdad was not now far off, and I regained my spirits and my strength. But, before we finally started, I went down to the edge of the river, and stripping off all my garments, dipped my shirt in the water, and put it on, unwrung, and in a streaming state. I did the same by all my other garments, even to the skull-cap, my head being close shaved; and, beneath the folds of my turban, I
wound a long cotton towel, wetted in the same manner, my whole dress thus containing several quarts of water.
In this state I quitted Delhi Abass, in company with the same party, going out over a bridge of four arches, an old Mohammedan work fast falling to decay, and pursuing a south-westerly direction across the plain. The country was mostly desert, though intersected by canals, some full and others dry. It continued all the way to be intensely hot, so that the richest of our party carried large and thick parasols, and the poorest defended themselves from the sun in the best way they could, by doubling the folds of their cloaks and other thick garments over their heads. The skin of my face and lips was cracked and split by the dry and parching heat, and my eyes were so swollen, reddened, and inflamed, that it was painful even to keep them open. Notwithstanding the precaution I had taken before setting out, of saturating the whole of my garments with water, the evaporation was so great, that the innermost of them was completely dry at sun-set. After this, the air became less oppressive, though it still continued to be hot, even until midnight.
JULY 15th. We continued our even course over the plain, without once varying the direction, passing a square enclosure, and a small village about midnight, and at day-break, opening a view of a country exactly like Lower Egypt. On the level plain, which now spread itself on all sides, were seen, in different quarters of the horizon, groves of palm-trees, each forming a separate cluster apart from the others, and each marking the place of a separate village. The soil was highly fertile, having already yielded its harvest of the present year, and the plain was intersected by one large canal, with several smaller ones branching off from it, all of which strengthened its resemblance to the lands on the banks of the Nile.
It was just as we had crossed one of the canals, and while suffering intensely from thirst, that I asked a Dervish, who was drinking from the hollow shell of a cocoa-nut at the stream, to give me a
draught of water from his vessel; but this man, though devoted by his order to the exercise of hospitality and charitable offices to all mankind, and though he had but the moment before returned me the salutation of the faithful, added insolence to his refusal, and pricking my mule with a sharp instrument, caused the poor beast, already sinking under his double burthen of a lading and a rider, to rear and kick, and ultimately to throw me off, with a part of the lading upon me. The agility of this Dervish, who was young and active, enabled him to escape the punishment I should otherwise have inflicted on him, for this breach of his own precepts to others; but, as I was now dismounted, I began to reload the articles that had fallen off, after which, I repaired to the stream, to allay both my thirst and my anger at the same time. On endeavouring to remount, which was a task of no small difficulty, as the lading of the beast was wide and high, and there were neither stirrups, nor a stone, or the smallest eminence of any kind near us, the whole of the poor creature's burthen came tumbling on the ground. It had at first perhaps been but badly secured, though I had used all my strength and skill in loading it: but the effect of the rearing, kicking, and rolling of the animal on the earth, when the Dervish provoked it to throw me, had made the whole so loose that it rolled entirely under the animal as it stood. To increase the evil, as I let go my hold of the halter, in order to use both hands in securing the packages, the mule made off at a full gallop, frisking and flinging its head in the air, pawing with its fore-legs, and kicking with its hind ones, as if in derision at my dilemma, and triumph for its own happy riddance and escape. As the rest of the party had by this time got far a-head, I waited in this miserable plight for two full hours, by the way-side, literally guarding the merchandize with one eye, and keeping a look-out with the other on the movements of my truant mule, who regaled himself on the shrubs near; besides being in continual apprehension of having the whole property (which was not my own) taken possession of by robbers, who are never wanting to follow up the stragglers of a caravan, and plunder